So, you have transformed that great idea into an equally great product? Congratulations!
Now open for business, you sit by the phone waiting for the calls to start coming in. One day, two days, one week- nothing. On the eighth day, the phone begins to ring loudly and you are overjoyed, only to let out a long hiss when you discover it’s a customer care call from your network provider, informing you of their new subscription packages.
It’s a month now, and not a single sale. “But there’s great need for my product”, you complain, “It’s such a great service I’m offering. I should be having so many orders by now.” Story for the gods.
I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but great product does not mean great patronage. You may have the best idea known to man, but except someone else- besides you- wants it, your idea is nothing. Welcome to the real world of business, where the market does not live by your rules.
Your first customers are a source of great excitement and motivation for you as it shows people are interested in your offering. But getting them can be a big struggle.
Ready to break through and get your first customers? Then, Jack, you’ve got to hit the road and do some hard core, face to face networking in addition to sitting behind the computer, building your brand’s online presence.
Here are a few workable ideas to help you hit the ground running.
Get a Plan
He who fails to plan, is planning to fail. Right? Before you make any move, whip up your pen, journal , thinking cap, and get down to work. Don’t just make decisions as the days go by. Make a detailed marketing plan- “these are the things I will do to get customers who will be willing to pay for my product/services”. As you progress in marketing, you will need to tweak your plan occasionally. Don’t be reluctant to do this. What is important is to work with a plan- a guide on the steps you will take to make it work.
Know Your Customer
Unless you know who your ideal customers are, how will you know where to find them? Be guided, you can’t serve everybody. Most entrepreneurs are unclear about their ideal customer. So, they waste a lot of time and money trying to sell to people who aren’t good potential customers. In consulting for entrepreneurs, when I ask my clients “Tell me, who is your customer?” I often get this response “My customer is everyone that can afford it.” No sir, that is not your ideal customer.
Streamline your target market. The benefits of defining and working with your ideal customer is that you have a set of prospects with similar attributes such as demographics, hobbies, interests, networks and others. This way, you don’t need to duplicate your marketing resources and efforts to attract several different sets of potential customers. This saves you money, and increases the results of your marketing.
The greater clarity you have concerning your ideal customer, the more focused and effective your marketing efforts will be.
What’s in It For Me?
Every potential customer is constantly tuned to a special radio station- the WII FM. That is, “What’s In It For Me?”
Sorry, but no one cares if your product is the best thing known to man. No one gives a hoot that it’s made from the best materials. All they want to know is how it can solve their present problem, or prevent a future problem. How can it make their lives better? You have to convince them on the value of your product to them.
People don’t buy for pity. If they do it once, they will not do it again. So how do you get anyone to buy from you? By showing them how your product can genuinely meet their needs. This is your value proposition. If you sell inverters for instance, the value of your product to your customers can be that it helps save their money; money that would have been spent on buying fuel for their generators. If you’re a Doctor, you save lives.
When you have outlined your value proposition, start practicing. Charity begins at home, right? Alright then, look yourself in the mirror and practice convincing ‘you’ on your value proposition. Sweetheart , if you can’t convince yourself, absolutely no one will believe you when you hit the road. Get a few friends or family and practice selling to them. Until you can successfully share your value proposition with confidence and clarity, and show how, do not get out that door.
Start with Your Warm Market
Your warm market means people whom you already have a relationship with; your friends, family, present and past colleagues.
When looking for customers for your product or service, start with your current network- your warm market. Your circle of friends and family are a great source for your first customers. They already know you, and your integrity (considering you have one). So it’s easier to convincing them on your value proposition.
Friends and family will provide you with constructive feedback concerning your product. If it has flaws, they will be more willing to forgive you than others. If possible, get them to actually pay for the product/service. When someone pays, it’s easier for give you truthful feedback . And that is what you need, to help you improve.
Use the Power of Influencers
Influencers are individuals with a wide reach of followers. They are respected for their credibility, knowledge and expertise on certain areas. Basically put, influencers have influence on their followers’ decisions. They get listened to, and their recommendations are held in high regard, especially on social media.
Having an influencer say a positive word about your business can give a big boost. Reach out to influencers in your field. Bearing in mind that everyone is tuned in to the WII-Fm , determine what you can do for them. What value can you give to him/her? Most times, businesses give the influencer their products/services for free. This is good. But sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box. Be more creative. Everyone does that, so do something different.
Study the influencer, follow their posts online, see if you can put your finger on something they need, love, have not been able to source but you can, something that will make them go ‘wow’. Whatever it is, reach out to with it, then tell them about your product and its value proposition. Tell them you would appreciate if they can drop a few positive words/recommendation about your product/service to their audience. If possible, get them to take a photo of themselves with your product, and post on social media. For instance, if you make shoes, get the influencer to take a photo of himself wearing a pair of your shoes, and a big smile. Have them post the photo to their social media feeds with a good word/review on it.
Dear entrepreneur, no need to hit your head against the wall because no one is buying from you. Start with these tips and your business lines will begin to ring with orders from potential customers. Look out for my next post, I will be giving you a few more tips to bring customers knocking.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Luba V Nel